Bristol City and Manchester City collide in a ‘David and Goliath’ FA Cup Fifth Round clash under the lights at Ashton Gate this evening, where the Robins will be hoping to pen their own chapter in the competition’s catalogue of epic upsets.
Pep Guardiola’s troops will welcome the chance to face a second-tier opponent following tests against Arsenal and Chelsea in the tournament’s previous rounds, though Bristol City – who have yet to sample defeat in 2023 – will believe they can test their illustrious opponent’s resolve.
Below, you can find my stats pack for this evening’s FA Cup contest, which has buckets of useful info to use in your bet builders for the game. If you need some pointers on how to extract the most value out of the information presented below, check out my Stats Pack Guide.
Tommy Conway, Kane Wilson, Kal Naismith, Rob Atkinson and Ayman Benarous are all in the treatment room for Bristol City, while Harry Cornick and Anis Mehmeti are both cup-tied and cannot feature this evening.
The Robins usually like to line up in a 4-2-3-1 formation under manager Nigel Pearson with Joe Williams and Matty James paired together at the base of City’s midfield. Their focal point in attack is leading marksman, Nakhi Wells, who has scored 11 times this season in the Championship.
John Stones is still inching his way back to fitness from a thigh problem, though fellow centre-half Aymeric Laporte could rejoin the matchday squad after a bout of illness. Several of City’s fringe players will hope to see action at Ashton Gate today.
Sergio Gomez, Kalvin Phillips, Rico Lewis and Julian Alvarez will be among those pushing to start, while goalkeeper Stefan Ortega could be handed another chance to shine between the sticks.
Bristol City (13th) are hovering in mid-table limbo in the Championship and while they have scored more goals than they have shipped at the other end, their shots, shots on target and xG against figures all suggest the balance could have easily been tipped in the opposite direction.
The Robins are unbeaten in 13 assignments in league and cup since December 29th however, which is an impressive surge, though they did score one or fewer times in eight of those fixtures. Only four clubs have collected more cards on home soil in the Championship than Bristol City this term (37), so expect plenty of aggression from the hosts.
Manchester City are metric leaders in several statistical realms in the Premier League this season, including goals, shots, shots on target, xG and corner kicks for per 90 minutes, though they still can’t quite reign in leaders Arsenal at the division’s summit.
City put four goals past Bournemouth on Saturday, though that was only the second time this season that the Cityzens managed to register more than three times in an away game. Last term, they hit four or more goals on the road on nine separate occasions. In the disciplinary stakes, only West Ham have collected fewer cards than City in the top tier in 2022/23.
Player Shots and Shots on Target
Bristol City’s spearhead Nakhi Wells (2.48) has been hitting more shots per 90 in the Championship than any of his teammates this season, with Austrian Andreas Weimann (1.17) his closest competitor on that front.
Winger Sam Bell is a further back in terms of figures per 90, though the 20-year-old was City’s star performer in the previous round of the FA Cup. Bell had three shots on target and netted twice in the Robins’ excellent 3-0 win over West Brom. The youngster is priced at 23/10 to lodge one or more shots on target this evening.
Julian Alvarez was handed just his sixth Premier League start of the campaign when he featured against Bournemouth on Saturday and the dynamic Argentinean attacker reminded everyone of his talent at the Vitaly Stadium, where he hit two accurate attempts and four overall.
Phil Foden, who started for only the third time in 2023 in the same game, also sparkled against the Cherries and finished the contest with two shots, one of which found the mark. Both exciting forwards could be deployed again today. Alvarez is even money to clock two shots on target against Bristol City today, while Foden is 3/10 to lodge just one.
Player Goals and Assists
Leading scorer Nakhi Wells managed to find the net in each of his last two appearances for Bristol City, though both of those efforts were dispatched from the penalty spot and the 31-year-old has notched from open play just once since Boxing Day.
The aforementioned Sam Bell, who was the Robins’ two-goal hero in the previous round, is 5/1 to rattle the net anytime again today, while City’s winger on the opposite flank, Mark Sykes is 15/2 in the same market. Sykes has collected six goal contributions in his last ten appearances for his club.
Naturally, City’s ranks are swollen with far greater goal-scoring options than Bristol City’s this evening and fresh from finding the net at the weekend, both Julian Alvarez and Phil Foden could be worth watching this evening.
23-year-old Alvarez is a snip at 11/10 to impact the scoresheet anytime, while Foden – who also created a goal for Erling Haaland against Bournemouth in his 200th appearance for City on Saturday – is of interest at 6/4 to either score or assist again at Ashton Gate.
Bristol City have been averaging a modest 48% possession per game in the Championship this season, though it would be a major surprise if the Robins controlled anywhere near that much of the play against Pep Guardiola’s ball-retention experts today.
Tomas Kalas, Zak Vyner and Joe Williams have been clocking decent individual passing numbers in the second tier this term, though I don’t expect any of that trio or indeed any player wearing red at Ashton Gate to make a dent in the distributions stats this evening.
City’s 65% average possession per game figure is the Premier League’s highest this season and the Cityzens will expect to hog close to 70% of the ball at Ashton Gate later today.
With ‘Pep Roulette’ in full swing today and City’s XI difficult to predict, it’s probably a smart move to wait for the official team news before adding passing options to your docket. However, your safest bets will come from City’s more defensive players, who are guaranteed to log lofty figures.
Bristol City Cards
Fiery 19-year-old attacking midfielder Alex Scott has been booked a bone-crunching nine times in the Championship this season, though he has been carded just once in his last 15 appearances in all competitions. The teenager’s foul count remained high during that period however, and Scott is decent value at 6/5 to commit two or more of them today.
Centre-half Zak Vyner is a generous 10/11 to give away just one free kick today. The 25-year-old has committed ten fouls in his last 13 appearances for The Robins, while tough-tackling full-back Cameron Pring, who has fouled at least once in 11 of his last 13 games, is 8/13 in the same market.
Kalvin Phillips could anchor Man City’s midfield this evening and the seldom-used 27-year-old could be in for a physically-demanding shift when pressed and harried by foul-machine Alex Scott.
Elsewhere, Julian Alvarez’s pace and trickery should make him difficult to contain at Ashton Gate and the host’s Zak Vyner will have time his tackles to perfection to avoid some awkward conversations with referee Andre Marriner. Similarly, Phil Foden’s technical skillset could draw the worst out of Cameron Pring. Foden has been fouled 1.36 times per 90 in the Premier League this season.
Match-Ups to watch
Alex Scott vs Kalvin Phillips
Zak Vyner vs Julian Alvarez
Cameron Pring vs Phil Foden
Manchester City Cards
With few of City’s most-potent foulers and card collectors expected to start at Ashton Gate, we have to dig a little deeper for options in the markets. Sergio Gomez and Kalvin Phillips look like two decent possibilities at 2/5 and 1/4 to commit 1+ fouls at Ashton Gate.
Both players have struggled for game time this season and ring rust could impact the timing of their challenges as well as the sharpness of their reactions. Nathan Ake, who has fouled at least once in six of his last seven starts, could also be one to consider in the same market at 4/7.
Alex Scott has really been in the wars this season and alongside dishing plenty of punishment out, the 19-year-old has regularly been on the receiving end too. Scott has been fouled a hefty 2.41 times per 90 in the Championship this term and his altercations with Kalvin Phillips have foul-producing potential for both midfielders.
Dangerous winger Mark Sykes, who has been fouled 1.60 times per 90 in the second tier, won’t need a second invitation to run at City’s stand-in full-back Sergio Gomez, while experienced centre-forward Nakhi Wells, knows how to rub opposing defenders the wrong way. Nathan Ake will know he’s been in a game if he starts at Ashton Gate.
Match-Ups to watch
Kalvin Phillips vs Alex Scott
Sergio Gomez vs Mark Sykes
Nathan Ake vs Nakhi Wells